PFA blast for comic Hunter

The PFA says it is "totally dismayed" by the "unacceptable language" used by comedian Reginald D Hunter.

Last Updated: 29/04/13 at 20:03 Post Comment

The Professional Footballers' Association says it is "totally dismayed" by the "unacceptable language" used by comedian Reginald D Hunter in Sunday night's awards ceremony in London.

Hunter, a black American from Georgia, shocked footballers and their guests during THE Player of the Year awards at the Grosvenor House hotel in central London by repeatedly using the word 'n*****' during his act.

PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle admitted he was embarrassed that Hunter had been booked to perform at the prestigious awards night, and the organisation responded tonight with a strongly worded statement.

It read: "The PFA regrets the offence caused by the performance of Reginald D Hunter at last night's awards ceremony in London.

"We share the strong disappointment felt by our diverse membership at the choice of language throughout his appearance.

"We would like to make it clear that we feel any use of such language is wholly inappropriate."

The topic of racism in football has hit the headlines over the last two years in particular, with John Terry and Luis Suarez both receiving bans for racial abuse, although former England captain Terry was cleared of racism in a criminal trial.

The PFA insisted that there was no inkling that the 44-year-old stand-up comic would use such language when they hired him for the event.

"He was booked on the basis of his recent television appearances, however clearly his performance last night was of a very different nature,'' the PFA statement continued.

"Whilst we are not generally made aware of the material a comedian intends on doing, it is clear that the language used was unacceptable.

"In a conference call with Reginald and three members of The London Speakers Bureau, through which he was recruited, it was outlined the makeup of our audience which would be widely diverse including around 25 per cent of women and ages ranging from 18 to 80.

"It was made absolutely clear that swearing or any racist references were to be avoided. Therefore we were totally dismayed that the performance was the exact opposite of our requirement.''

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor had tried to play down the furore surrounding Hunter's choice of language.

When asked whether it was a mistake to allow Hunter to perform, Taylor replied: "No, no, don't be silly. Are you serious? ''I think there were a few raised eyebrows over the comedian, but that is the sort of thing you can't control. It was unfortunate.

"He is a professional comedian.

"It's a difficult subject in football and with him not being fully aware of how emotive it has been in football, that was probably a difficulty for him.''

But Carlisle pulled no punches when he spoke about his embarrassment at the fact the organisation which he heads had booked Hunter.

The Northampton defender, who has tried to bring the fight against racism in football in to the public spotlight during his two-and-a-half year spell as head of the PFA, said: "I thought we made a huge mistake.

"I thought with everything that we have gone through over the last few years, using a comedian of his type was a bad error in judgement.

"I was embarrassed sat up there throughout and I want to apologise unreservedly to the footballing community was present.''

Carlisle now believes the customary slot for a comedian at the awards night should be scrapped.

"I'm not lambasting Reginald D Hunter,'' the centre-back said.

"I am having a go at us as a union for putting that kind of material on show.

"We are seriously going to have discuss the format of our evening because when you book a comedian, especially someone who does push issues to their boundaries and beyond, we have to question whether our event is the right time and place for that and I personally don't believe it is.

"It shouldn't be a time for satire or politicising things, it should be a time for celebration. That was a massive error in judgement and it's something we need to look at.''

Hunter is a popular comedian who has appeared on TV shows like Have I Got News For You.

The American's management company declined to comment when contacted.


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